Below is a description of the five classes:
There is also a class that was not mentioned above, and that is aid climbing. That would belong to the advanced climbing category, and it is broken down into terms such as A1, A2, etc. depending on the security of the anchor placement.
Rock Climbers (from what I have experienced) most often like to engage in activities that involve a short approach to their climbing objective. They especially like being able to drive their car right up and get started with a minimal amount of hiking to do. This makes it so they can spend the maximum amount of time on the rock rather than having to spend lots of time driving, hiking, or packing into their location. This method also provides for a quick escape if weather turns bad, or if someone gets injured.
Yosemite would be the classic drive and climb type of National Park. But by far and a way, most Rock Climbers spend most of their time working on local bouldering problems near their homes or on indoor sport climbing walls. These activities are certainly a great way to hone ones skills for more advanced climbs in the future.
Ice Climbing when it comes to ratings, is difficult to define due to the fact that snow depth, thickness of the ice, and temperature affect the conditions of the route. These factors plus the nature of the ice and its protection possibilities determine its difficulty.
There is also the commitment level to consider when it comes to either ice climbing or rock climbing. This has to due with the length of the approach and descent, length of the climb itself, objective hazards, and the nature of the climb. The aforementioned factors weigh in heavy when it comes to planning a climb.
Lastly and most importantly, climbing is an inherently a dangerous activity and care must be taken at all times in order to avoid injuries. So always get expert training and climb with experienced partners.
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